Dust mite allergy

"Its management involves both environmental control to reduce exposure and appropriate medical treatment to alleviate symptoms and improve the patient's quality of life."


What are mites?

Mites live in house dust and feed primarily on human scales.

Inside the home, they accumulate mainly in carpets, upholstery, comforters, pillows, mattresses and, in general, all textile materials, including stuffed toys and clothing.

The development and spread of house dust mites depends primarily on relative humidity and temperature. Optimal conditions are at temperatures between 20 and 30°C and relative humidities of 65 to 80% (below 50% humidity, they can hardly live). This type of climate is the usual one in our environment during most of the year, except in the winter months.

What are the symptoms of dust mite allergy?

In order of frequency and severity, they can first produce a rhinitis or rhinoconjunctivitis that manifests itself by itchy nose and eyes, watery nasal discharge, sneezing, stuffy nose, etc.

Secondly, bronchial asthma. It should not be forgotten that 80% of all asthmatics are asthmatic due to allergic causes. Asthma can initially manifest itself with a dry cough, fundamentally triggered by exercise, laughter or tobacco smoke.

Later on, there is difficulty in breathing, thoracic noises (beeps or whistles), and a feeling of tightness in the chest. It can also manifest itself only when making efforts, for example climbing stairs, forcing us to stop because we are short of breath.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Dry Cough
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Thoracic sounds
  • Tightness in the chest

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may be allergic to mites

How is dust mite allergy diagnosed?

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The diagnosis is made by means of a very simple skin test: drops containing a known amount of the allergen to which we may be sensitive are applied to the skin of the arm; they are then passed through with a minimal lancet until they pierce the skin and the reaction is observed after 15-20 minutes.

In addition, it is possible to perform blood tests to quantify more precisely and demonstrate the presence of specific antibodies to that allergen. 

How is dust mite allergy treated?

Our Immunotherapy Unit is formed by doctors and nurses with great experience in this treatment

The medication is very effective in treating symptoms, such as antihistamines -now also available in eye drops and nose drops-; topical corticosteroids -inhaled through the mouth or nose, which, unlike corticosteroids taken by mouth, are barely reabsorbed by the body and therefore lack systemic effects-; and, other drugs.

It is important to know that all these treatments improve and control the symptoms but do not cure the allergy. Today there is only one treatment that can induce tolerance to the allergen: immunotherapy (vaccines).

Immunotherapy consists of repeated injections of minimal doses of the allergen over a period of 3 to 5 years. After that time, the vaccine achieves in a high percentage of people that our organism stops recognizing that substance as harmful and, therefore, the allergic reaction does not take place. Since there is a risk of allergic reaction, although it is less than 5%, it is administered in the Immunotherapy Units, which are formed by medical and nursing personnel who have sufficient experience to handle these treatments.

At the present time we have a new route for immunotherapy, especially useful in children, which consists of applying drops under the tongue. This avoids punctures and can be applied at home. For a correct prescription of an immunotherapy it is essential to go to the allergist.

Where do we treat it?


Department of Allergology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Department of Allergy and Immunology of the Clinic is part of the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network, composed of the 25 best departments of Allergy in Europe, chosen for their scientific excellence, multidisciplinary work, teaching and international activities.

We have the most advanced diagnostic techniques, we are at the forefront of research and we collaborate with the best experts. We have more than 50 years of experience in the field.

What diseases do we treat?

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • More than 50 years of experience.
  • Pioneers in the technique of molecular diagnosis by microarray.
  • Nursing specialized in allergic diseases and their care.